Stress Hormones Promote Breast Cancer Metastasis

The relationship between stress and cancer is the source of many ongoing studies. Here’s a snapshot view of some relevant findings.

One 2013 review of 12 studies assessed work stress and how it relates to cancer risk. They found that work stress wasn’t associated with overall cancer risk. Further, work stress wasn’t linked with the development of specific cancers, such as those of the prostate, lung, and breast.

However, a more recent 2017 study investigated the past levels and duration of job stress experienced by more 2,000 men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. It found that perceived workplace stress was associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer.

A large 2016 study of 106,000 women in the United Kingdom looked at whether frequent stress or negative life events affected their risk of breast cancer. In the end, the study didn’t find consistent evidence to suggest that frequent stress factors into someone’s breast cancer risk.

Overall, there still isn’t enough conclusive evidence to definitely say whether stress causes cancer or even increases someone’s risk.

indirect vs. direct causes

Even in cases where there does appear to be a link between stress and cancer, it’s still unclear whether stress contributes directly or indirectly.

For example:

  • Someone under chronic stress takes up smoking as a means of relief. Is it the stress or the smoking that increases their risk of cancer? Or is it both?
  • Someone experiences chronic stress for several years while caring for a family member with cancer. Down the line, they develop cancer themselves. Was stress a factor? Or was it genetics?

As experts begin to better understand both cancer and stress individually, we’ll likely learn more about how the two relate to each other, if at all.

Source :

Can Stress Cause Cancer?
Stress hormones promote breast cancer metastasis
Increased stress hormones accelerate breast cancer metastasis
Breast cancer: Does stress fuel its spread?
Cancer: Stress hormones linked to breast cancer spread in mice
Stress hormones promote breast cancer metastasis
Stress Hormones Linked to Breast Cancer Metastasis
New study establishes how stress favors breast cancer growth and spread